Statutory guidance for local authorities

About this guidance

This is statutory guidance from the Department for Education. It is issued under section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970. This means that it must be followed unless there are exceptional circumstances that justify departing from it.

This guidance sets the framework through which local authorities discharge their statutory duty under 22(3A) of the Children Act 1989 to promote the educational achievement of looked-after children. That includes those children placed out of authority.

The Children and Families Act 2014 amended section 22 of the Children Act 1989 to require every local authority in England to appoint an officer employed by the authority, or another authority, to make sure that its duty to promote the educational achievement of its looked-after children is properly discharged. This guidance also sets the framework through which local authorities discharge their
statutory duty under 23ZZA of the Children Act 1989 (added by section 4 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017) to promote the educational achievement of previously lookedafter children.

Local authorities are required to appoint an officer employed by the
authority, or another authority, to make sure that its duty to promote their educational achievement is properly discharged. For the purpose of this guidance, the officer/s referred to above is hereafter referred to as the Virtual School Head or VSH.

This guidance replaces Promoting the educational achievement of looked-after children published in July 2014.

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